A Proud Tradition of Being Plucked, Stuffed, and Eaten: Heritage TurkeysWe’re fans of heritage breeds of turkey, those long-established birds that taste much like the ones our great-grandparents ate. Last year’s comprehensive turkey guide handily sketches out the basics about these guys, but the more in-depth writing we’ve seen on them usually descends into slow-food sanctimony — how evil factory farms are and the rest. That’s where Regina Schrambling, of Gastropoda, comes in. The acerbic critic offers a relaxed but no-B.S. guide to heritage turkeys, which we recommend to anyone thinking he might dump the Butterball this year. “An American Bronze turkey,” she tells us, “could not be more unlike the bloated birds hoisted out of so many ovens in November.”
Meanwhile, for a takedown of the entire turkey tradition, read what this crank had to say in Slashfood.
Talkin’ Turkey [Gastropoda]
The Other Critics
The Economics of Big-Box Dining
Regina Schrambling’s long L.A. Times feature on New York big-box restaurants might be a must-read for observers of the New York dining scene. Although better known as her brilliantly arch and caustic blog Gastropoda, Schrambling is a rock-solid food reporter when not in harridan mode, and she helps get to the bottom of a basic question. How, in a city where even small spaces are astronomically expensive, can it pay to open a restaurant the size of a bus terminal? The answer is volume, but the how and why of the way restaurants like Morimoto, Buddakan, and the Hawaiian Tropic Zone operate might not be immediately apparent to readers who don’t know a lot about the restaurant business.
Back of the House
A Visual Guide to Your Favorite Food Critics
Who in his right mind believes that there’s a food writer out there who looks “similar to Harrison Ford but more muscular and tan”? Tim Love, apparently. We already got some good mileage out of the same Forth Worth Star Telegram article on Tim Love opening his new restaurant, but Gastropoda pointed out something from it that we missed: There’s a “fat notebook” Love and his wife kept on the food media, tracking the aforementioned Ford look-alike as well as a “better, younger-looking Woody Allen.” If you ask us, half of the food-writing corps (Meehan, Peter; Asimov, Eric; Lee, Ted; et al.) resemble “nerdier Elvis Costellos.” But there are exceptions. As a gift to Mr. Love and his colleagues, we offer the following quiz.